IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/23285.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Pascual Restrepo

Abstract

As robots and other computer-assisted technologies take over tasks previously performed by labor, there is increasing concern about the future of jobs and wages. We analyze the effect of the increase in industrial robot usage between 1990 and 2007 on US local labor markets. Using a model in which robots compete against human labor in the production of different tasks, we show that robots may reduce employment and wages, and that the local labor market effects of robots can be estimated by regressing the change in employment and wages on the exposure to robots in each local labor market—defined from the national penetration of robots into each industry and the local distribution of employment across industries. Using this approach, we estimate large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages across commuting zones. We bolster this evidence by showing that the commuting zones most exposed to robots in the post-1990 era do not exhibit any differential trends before 1990. The impact of robots is distinct from the impact of imports from China and Mexico, the decline of routine jobs, offshoring, other types of IT capital, and the total capital stock (in fact, exposure to robots is only weakly correlated with these other variables). According to our estimates, one more robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2017. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 23285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23285
    Note: EFG LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23285.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicholas Bloom & Mirko Draca & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on Innovation, IT and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 87-117.
    2. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2018. "Robots at Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 753-768, December.
    3. Melanie Arntz & Terry Gregory & Ulrich Zierahn, 2016. "The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
    4. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    5. Terry Gregory & A.M. Salomons & Ulrich Zierahn, 2016. "Racing With or Against the Machine? Evidence from Europe," Working Papers 16-05, Utrecht School of Economics.
    6. Ariel Burstein & Gordon Hanson & Lin Tian & Jonathan Vogel, 2017. "Tradability and the Labor-Market Impact of Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous Skill Bias in Technology Adoption: City-Level Evidence from the IT Revolution," NBER Working Papers 12521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from A Panel of British and French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492.
    9. Guy Michaels & Ashwini Natraj & John Van Reenen, 2014. "Has ICT Polarized Skill Demand? Evidence from Eleven Countries over Twenty-Five Years," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 60-77, March.
    10. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2017. "Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series dp-297, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. Wojciech Hardy & Roma Keister & Piotr Lewandowski, 2016. "Technology or Upskilling? Trends in the Task Composition of Jobs in Central and Eastern Europe," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2016-40, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Dec 2016.
    3. Andrea Salvatori & Seetha Menon & Wouter Zwysen, 2018. "The effect of computer use on job quality: Evidence from Europe," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 200, OECD Publishing.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2018. "Low-Skill and High-Skill Automation," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 204-232.
    5. Cortes, Guido Matias & Jaimovich, Nir & Siu, Henry E., 2017. "Disappearing routine jobs: Who, how, and why?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 69-87.
    6. Cortes, Guido Matias & Salvatori, Andrea, 2019. "Delving into the demand side: Changes in workplace specialization and job polarization," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 164-176.
    7. Maarten Goos & Melanie Arntz & Ulrich Zierahn & Terry Gregory & Stephanie Carretero Gomez & Ignacio Gonzalez Vazquez & Koen Jonkers, 2019. "The Impact of Technological Innovation on the Future of Work," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2019-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Rita K. Almeida & Ana M. Fernandes & Mariana Viollaz, 2017. "Does the Adoption of Complex Software Impact Employment Composition and the Skill Content of Occupations? Evidence from Chilean Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0214, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    9. Ben Vermeulen & Jan Kesselhut & Andreas Pyka & Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2018. "The Impact of Automation on Employment: Just the Usual Structural Change?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(5), pages 1-27, May.
    10. Gunther Tichy, 2016. "Geht der Arbeitsgesellschaft die Arbeit aus?," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(12), pages 853-871, December.
    11. HAMAGUCHI Nobuaki & KONDO Keisuke, 2018. "Regional Employment and Artificial Intelligence in Japan," Discussion papers 18032, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. Janssen, Simon & Mohrenweiser, Jens, 2018. "The Shelf Life of Incumbent Workers during Accelerating Technological Change: Evidence from a Training Regulation Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 11312, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Georg Graetz & Guy Michaels, 2017. "Is Modern Technology Responsible for Jobless Recoveries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 168-173, May.
    14. David J. Deming, 2017. "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(4), pages 1593-1640.
    15. Pantea, Smaranda & Sabadash, Anna & Biagi, Federico, 2017. "Are ICT displacing workers in the short run? Evidence from seven European countries," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 36-44.
    16. Paul Gaggl & Greg C. Wright, 2017. "A Short-Run View of What Computers Do: Evidence from a UK Tax Incentive," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 262-294, July.
    17. Piotr Lewandowski & Roma Keister & Wojciech Hardy & Szymon Gorka, 2017. "Routine and ageing? The Intergenerational Divide In The Deroutinisation Of Jobs In Europe," IBS Working Papers 01/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    18. David H. Autor, 2015. "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    19. Dauth, Wolfgang & Findeisen, Sebastian & Südekum, Jens & Wößner, Nicole, 2017. "German robots - the impact of industrial robots on workers," IAB Discussion Paper 201730, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    20. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2017. "Trade, technology, and prosperity: An account of evidence from a labor-market perspective," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-15, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23285. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.